I have done several interviews the past week but I wanted to share this one with you as it probably won’t be published for us “non military folks”.
Before that, let me quickly update you on a few things:
– Chantal and baby Joe are doing great! They had a good night sleep in their tent and Chantal has started to get milk so both are happy.
– H2H Canada is working around the clock to help us on the ground here. Roger and Albert (boardmembers) land in the DR today and will be coming to GG, Haiti later this week.
– The US Navy has tested our water well and it has tested positive for e-coli. This is a serious situation for us as the well is the sole source of drinking water for H2H as well as the community around us. I am working to get a filtration system in place but in the meantime we have advised everyone to boil the water before drinking… which is difficult as we are cooking with charcoal and the supplies are limited.
Here is the interview I did with the US Marines:
1) What was your thought when you first saw the Marines coming to ask for you by name?
The first Marine asking for me walked up the river bank asking kids for a white girl named Rebecca… luckily that description only applied to me!! The kids reached me before the Marine and were yelling… the white guys have come to take you home!! I was overwhelmed to say the least. It had been a difficult few days and having my hand shaken by someone who promised to help me through this gave me the strength I needed to continue pushing on. I didn’t realize until later that night (until I had checked my emails) that the Marines had found me through my blog and had been sent to find me.
2) Did you know that the information in your blog was being watched by the Marine Corps?
No, I never even thought of the possibility.
3) How many people do you care for at your organization?
We have 110 children in our Children’s Home. We have 450 children attending our School (which also had a feeding program). We have approximately 600 people sleeping/living in our yard since the earthquake.
5) How does it feel to know that you were the first person to receive aid using a new system utilized by the Marines to focus on social media to gain information for the location and type of care needed?
I actually didn’t know that until now! I have always realized the importance of my blog in connecting North American with the reality of what is happening in Haiti and the opportunities to help but I never imagined my audience would be so large.
6) When the Marines arrived how was their attitude? Were the eager to help?
Absolutely!! They have been willing to do anything within their power to help us. In my opinion they have gone above and beyond to connect with the people. They are not just in Haiti to do a job; they are in Haiti to help people they care about – there is a big difference between the two.
7) What kind of relief did you receive? ie. Food, water, medical attention.
The Marines have given us food, they set up temporary fencing where our exterior walls colapsed, they brought down some of our buildings that were a danger to the kids, they broke into our buried food depot to recover some food, they climbed our buildings to recover our water tanks, they arranged to have our water source tested to ensure it is still drinkable and they have connected us with medical assistance. They also took every opportunity to connect with the kids on our compound and have really lifted their spirits.
8) How long have you been in Haiti?
Almost 3 years now.
9) What is the name and location of your organization?
Heart to Heart Children’s Home, Grand Goave, Haiti
10) What does your organization do?
In summary, H2H takes in children that are orphans or in a situation where they are not being looked after appropriately. They are brought up in a family environment and are educated through a college or trade school level. Once they are able to support themselves we help them get re-established in the community. They will become the mechanics, masons and educators of our community. For us, this is the best way to improve the future of Haiti. We have 15 teachers at our school and most of them passed through our program and are providing great hope to the children currently living with us.
11) Is there anything you would like to add
Major aid organizations were critical in the early stages of this disaster and will continue to play a major role in the foreseeable future. In the long run however it is the smaller established programs like H2H that will connect and help to rebuild the communities of Haiti. We thank you so much for all you have done to help and encourage us!